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Expert Brings ‘Human Approach’ to Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders


From his own experiences as a parent with a child with an autism spectrum disorder, Dr. Luke Tsai takes a “human approach” of studying medicine and autism spectrum disorders.

An accomplished researcher and scientist for more than 30 years, Tsai will speak during Eastern Illinois University’s annual Fall Autism Conference about the current assessment and medication treatment for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

The conference, open to the public, will be from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. Union on the EIU campus.  

“In previous years at our annual autism conference, we focused on younger populations with ASD and the social challenges of living with ASD, but this year we wanted to bring in an expert on medical treatment,” said Gail Richard, director of the new Autism Center at EIU. “Tsai’s expertise is unique to downstate Illinois and he will appeal to many individuals across disciplines from educators to counselors to scientists.”  

The yearly conference helps raise money for EIU’s Autism Center, which is an expansion of the existing Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic. The center serves individuals with ASD who are diagnosed and treated by undergraduate and graduate students under the supervision of distinguished faculty members.

“Eastern Illinois University wants to continue to be a center of professional expertise on autism spectrum disorders,” Richard said. “We want to be a place where families can come to receive treatment through our autism center, but we also want to bring in outside experts like Tsai.”

The conference will include two sessions and a final discussion. The focus of the presentation from 9-11 a.m. will be the targets and assessment of need for medication by school teams. The session from 1-3:15 p.m. will be the review of the current practice of medication treatments and evidence-based medication treatments. Kathleen Hecksel, a child psychiatrist from Sarah Bush Lincoln Memorial Health Center in Mattoon, will also take part in the discussion.

Throughout his career, Tsai has published more than 60 articles and 20 books.  He is a professor emeritus of psychiatry and pediatrics and research scientist emeritus from the University of Michigan Medical School and Rackham Graduate School. He has published a book titled “Taking the Mystery out of Medication in Autism/Asperger Syndromes.”

To register for the conference, go here or call Sandi Thiele at 217-581-2712.   The workshop is approved for five hours of continuing education credit from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Registration is $40 for professionals and $10 for students. The event is co-sponsored by the College of Sciences and Graduate School at EIU and the East Central Illinois Speech-Language-Hearing Association. For more information about the center, go to



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Media Relations
Josh Reinhart, Public Information Coordinator

2142 Old Main
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920
Fax: 217-581-8444

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